Is recipe for Wicksteed Park’s famous wartime ice-cream lost forever?

Ice-cream sellers at the ready at Wicksteed Park
Ice-cream sellers at the ready at Wicksteed Park

A Rothwell man says the recipe used to make Wicksteed Park’s wartime ice-cream will never be known.

Ted Eassom, 93, believes he is the only person to know the true fate of the park treat which became popular during rationing.

The park's factory was closed when the expensive machinery broke down

The park's factory was closed when the expensive machinery broke down

Mr Eassom recalled being at a game shoot with Wicksteed staff years ago when he was told it wouldn’t be found in years to come.

He said: “There was a game shoot for business people from Kettering, including the then-manager of the park, at Catworth near Huntington.

“Myself and some of the staff from the park were beaters for the shoot.

“I spoke to a Scotsman, who I seem to remember was called Vic, who said the recipe was his late mother’s and that it would die with him.

Ted Eassom

Ted Eassom

“I was the youngest there and almost certainly the only one still alive, so I don’t think anyone else can know it.”

The iconic recipe was created during the war when the park brought in a herd of goats in order to obtain milk for ice-cream, as wartime rationing meant milk was scarce.

The popular treat was sold from the park’s ice cream parlour in the pavilion which had been opened prior to the war in 1935.

Former electrical engineer and war volunteer Ted, who lived in Kettering before moving to Rothwell 50 years ago, said he didn’t think much of the wartime version.

Wicksteed Park used to make its own ice-cream

Wicksteed Park used to make its own ice-cream

But he said the park’s ice-cream before rationing was introduced was ‘out of this world’.

He said: “Anyone who remembers the taste of the Wicksteed ice cream before the war has got to be 90 or very nearly touching 90.

“I remember the vanilla and the strawberry, which was out of this world.

“It was made in-season using fresh strawberries and the taste was amazing.”

He added that when ice-cream came out again after the war the government said it had to have the same fat content as normal cream and it just wasn’t the same.

After the construction of the ice-cream parlour, the park built its own ice-cream factory in the mid-1950s.

The ice-cream parlour itself served a very different purpose during the Second World War, when it became a Master Sergeant’s office as the pavilion was used to billet hundreds of soldiers.

However, the factory was later closed when the expensive machinery broke down.

But the park will manufacture and sell its own ice-cream again soon thanks to a £4.5m Historic Heart project.

It’s hoped that Ted will be able to visit the park once more to see how the ice-cream lives up to the one he remembers.

Tracey Clarke, community link manager at Wicksteed Park, said: “We are delighted that as part of the Historic Heart project, Wicksteed ice-cream will be made and sold at the park once more.

“We are working to replicate the original ice-cream as closely as possible and would love to hear from anyone who has any information about the initial recipe used all those years ago.

“It has been lovely to hear of Ted’s memories and we would love him to visit the park to try the ice-cream as soon as it is available.”